Thanks to the blogosphere, this hasn’t been a good time for the AP, since it’s been caught with its pants down, exposing what can at best be called shoddy reporting, and at worst reprehensibly dishonest reporting. Rather than apologize and fix the problem, AP has gotten arrogant and refused to acknowledge that there is a problem. (Sort of like a junkie in denial.) Turns out that this institutional arrogance is not new and is not unique to Middle Eastern reporting:
THE most powerful media institution in all of human history is the Associated Press. Its news feed is ubiquitous – used, directly or indirectly, by every U.S. newspaper and TV news program and a vast number of foreign ones, too. AP maintains the largest world-wide coverage, and its reader base is nearly immeasurable. Unfortunately, and repeatedly of late, this behemoth has not only been getting it wrong – but increasingly refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Instead, acting more like a politician or the mega-corporation that it is, the AP crew spins, obfuscates and attacks. Now they’re at it again in Iraq.
I have got direct experience of this – from challenging the AP’s seriously flawed 1999 “scoop” about the masssacre near the South Korean village of No Gun Ri during the opening days of the Korean War.
Bad things did happen at No Gun Ri, of this there can be no doubt. My own research and other historians’, as well as the joint U.S.-Korean government investigation, confirms that a tragedy occurred – there were civilians who were killed there, by our side, and that was wrong.
But the AP’s sensationalistic story painted it as a deliberate massacre, done with machine guns at extremely close range.
The most sensational account started in the 57th paragraph of the 3,448-word story, sourced to one Edward Daily. As AP told it, Daily was the only soldier at No Gun Ri who directly received orders from his officers to turn his water-cooled .30 caliber machinegun on the civilians and shoot them down in cold blood at point-blank range.
Daily’s account was chilling. It was also – as AP should have known – a fantasy.
Read the rest of Robert Bateman’s NY Post story about dealing with the AP behemoth here.
Hat tip: Lucianne
UPDATE: There’s nothing more flattering than being an inspiration. Riffing off his comment here about the AP’s bone-deep anti-War position, Patrick has written a whole, fascinating blog post looking at the American State Department, and its inability to understand that the bumperstick “War is not the answer,” is, as often as not, more fatuous than helpful.